Do you find that you are tearing up excessively? There’s no doubt that tears have an important role in keeping your eyes healthy, helping lubricate them and wash away foreign particles. The production of tears is a well-oiled machinery, with the eyes making them continuously and then draining them away through tear ducts. But if you tend to tear up all the time, there may be an underlying problem that you need to fix. And treatment will depend on this cause. Some common causes of watery eyes are:
- Dry eyes: Dryness makes your eyes uncomfortable and stimulates the production of excessive tears, leading to watery eyes.
- Allergies: These can be set off by seasonal allergens such as pollen as well as substances like mold, dust, or animal dander, causing excessive tearing as well as other symptoms like reddened or itchy eyes. These symptoms are caused by a chemical known as histamine that is released by your body in response to the allergen. Eye allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis.1
- Blepharitis: This is a condition where the edges of your eyelids get inflamed. This may happen as a reaction to bacteria that usually live harmlessly on your skin. Skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, which results in oily flaky skin, and rosacea, which is characterized by a rash, can block glands along the eyelids and cause blepharitis.2
- Conjunctivitis: This is a common condition that can lead to red and watery eyes. It can be caused by infection due to a bacteria or virus.
- Narrowed or blocked tear ducts: This can happen either due to old age or chronic inflammation.
- Eyelids that turn inward or outward: These conditions are known as entropion and ectropion, respectively, and are caused by old age and defects in the eyelid muscles.
While home remedies may be able to take care of this problem in some cases, in others you may need medication, say, to handle allergies or conjunctivitis. Also, certain conditions such as blocked tear ducts might require surgical intervention. If watery eyes are a persistent issue, make sure you see a doctor to figure out what’s causing it and whether it warrants medical treatment.3 4 Meanwhile, these home remedies may very well help ease the problem. They will not only help you deal with watery eyes but also tackle the underlying problem that’s responsible.
1. Have Omega 3 And 7 Fatty Acids
Consuming omega 3 fatty acids can help sort out dry eyes-related tearing up. These beneficial fats are available in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Have at least 2 portions of fish in a week and make sure one of these is an oily fish. You can get omega 3s from green leafy veggies, soy products, and nuts and seeds too. Omega 7, which is present in sources like sea buckthorn oil, can also be useful in tackling dry eyes.5 6
2. Use Specialized Glasses And Humidifiers
Moisture chamber spectacles are special glass that can be used to tackle dry eyes. They help to retain moisture, keep out irritants by wrapping around your eyes, and thus prevent your eyes from tearing up. Another device that can help is a humidifier. So use a cool mist humidifier to keep the surrounding air moist and reduce symptoms. Your doctor may also advise you to use lubricating eye drops to combat this condition. Meanwhile, if contact lenses are causing your dry eyes, your doctor may advise you to use special contact lenses to deal with it.7
3. Apply An Eye Compress
Applying a warm compress for about 5 to 10 minutes thrice a day can help ease the discomfort from bacterial or viral conjunctivitis. Soak a clean washcloth in sterile warm water to prepare the compress and apply it to closed eyes. If you have allergic conjunctivitis (where you may not have as much discharge), you may find a cool compress more soothing. A cold damp tea bag will also work well as a compress.8
4. Use A Chamomile Eyewash
Chamomile has traditionally been used as an eyewash to tackle conjunctivitis. If your eyes are watering constantly, this can help. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb may account for its beneficial effects.9 To prepare the eyewash, steep 2–3 teaspoons of this herb in a pint of boiling water and strain. Let the solution cool down before you use it as an eyewash. Also, remember to use a fresh solution each time as old solutions may not be sterile. Some people may have an allergic reaction to chamomile, so make sure you do a patch test before you use it topically.
5. Apply A Honey Solution
Honey is known for its antibacterial properties and can help treat bacterial conjunctivitis. An animal study observed that applying honey topically reduced symptoms as well as the time taken to clear up the bacterial infection.10 Add 3 tablespoons of medical grade honey to 2 cups of boiling water and let it cool down. Wipe away pus and crusted debris with this solution.[/ref]Green, Joey. Joey Green’s Magic Health Remedies: 1,363 Quick-and-easy Cures Using Brand-name Products. Rodale, 2013.[/ref]
6. Try A Warm Compress, Massage, And Scrub
A regular eye-cleaning routine which effectively removes oily debris and grime from your eyes can help tackle watery eyes and other symptoms related to blepharitis. Here’s how to go about it.
- First, apply a warm compress to your eyes for around 10 minutes. This softens oil secreted by glands in your eyes and makes it more fluid.
- Then use a circular motion and massage your closed eyes gently with the little finger. And roll a cotton bud over them toward the edges of the eyes to push out oils from glands.
- Add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to water that’s been boiled and cooled to a comfortably warm temperature to make a cleaning solution for your eyes. Dip a clean cotton pad in this solution and use it to wipe away crusty bits, germs, and dirt from your eyelids and lashes.11
7. Wash Eyelids With A Tea Tree Oil Scrub Or Baby Shampoo
One study found that scrubbing eyelids with 10% tea tree oil can reduce mites that are found in people who have blepharitis. The researchers suggested that scrubbing eyelids at least 5 times a week can be useful for people with this condition.12 But it’s very important that tea tree oil is diluted sufficiently before you use this remedy. In fact, it may be best to use readymade tea tree oil wash in which the oil is correctly calibrated. Also take care not to let the cleansing solution get into your eyes as it can irritate them.
Another remedy that might be useful is plain old baby shampoo. After placing a warm washcloth over your eyelids to loosen crusts, use a solution of 3 drops of baby shampoo mixed in with 3 ounces of warm water to wipe your closed eyes clean. Then wash your eyes with clean water and dry them. Baby shampoo is designed so it doesn’t irritate the eyes, so this will work gently to clean your eyes and dislodge any blocks.13
8. Drink Oolong Tea
Do you find your eyes watering during allergy season? Try drinking oolong tea, which is tea that’s been fermented partially. According to one study, this tea was effective at relieving symptoms of eye allergy like eye watering and itching even when pollen count was high. It has also been found help deal with nasal symptoms of allergies.14
9. Use An External Eyewash With Turmeric
Turmeric is traditionally used as an eye wash to deal with eye allergies. This spice contains a compound known as curcumin which can inhibit the release of histamine.15 Animal studies also show that this compound can suppress eye allergies.16
To make an eye wash, add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in ¼ cup of clean warm water. Use this solution to clean your outer eye and eyelid.17
|↑1||Allergic conjunctivitis. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑2||Blepharitis. National Health Service.|
|↑3||Watery eyes. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑4||Watering eyes. National Health Service.|
|↑5||Dry eye syndrome – Self-help. National Health Service.|
|↑6, ↑7||Self-help. National Health Service.|
|↑8||“Conjunctivitis.” Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Encyclopedia.com. (April 1, 2018).|
|↑9||Hechtman, Leah. Clinical naturopathic medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013.|
|↑10||Al-Waili, Noori S. “Investigating the antimicrobial activity of natural honey and its effects on the pathogenic bacterial infections of surgical wounds and conjunctiva.” Journal of medicinal food 7, no. 2 (2004): 210-222.|
|↑11||Treatment. National Health Service.|
|↑12||Koo, Hyun, Tae Hyung Kim, Kyoung Woo Kim, Sung Wook Wee, Yeoun Sook Chun, and Jae Chan Kim. “Ocular surface discomfort and Demodex: effect of tea tree oil eyelid scrub in Demodex blepharitis.” Journal of Korean medical science 27, no. 12 (2012): 1574-1579.|
|↑13||Komaroff, Anthony L., ed. Harvard Medical School family health guide. Simon and Schuster, 2005.|
|↑14||NIINO, Hitoshi, Kengo OBARA, Yuko SAGESAKA, Megumi SUZUKI, Nanae IIGAYA, Koji OGAWA, Masahiko HAYASHI, and Jong-Chol CYONG. “Clinical effect and safety of oolong tea” ogonkei” for seasonal allergic rhino-conjunctivitis caused by pollen.” Journal of Traditional Medicines 25, no. 1 (2008): 10-17.|
|↑15||Kurup, Viswanath P., and Christy S. Barrios. “Immunomodulatory effects of curcumin in allergy.” Molecular nutrition & food research 52, no. 9 (2008): 1031-1039.|
|↑16||Chung, So-Hyang, Seong Hyun Choi, Jin A. Choi, Roy S. Chuck, and Choun-Ki Joo. “Curcumin suppresses ovalbumin-induced allergic conjunctivitis.” Molecular vision 18 (2012): 1966.|
|↑17||McIntyre, Anne. Herbal treatment of children: Western and Ayurvedic perspectives. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2005.|